The Almanac

By United Press International  |  July 21, 2004 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Wednesday, July 21, the 203rd day of 2004 with 163 to follow.

The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Venus, Uranus, Saturn and Neptune. The evening stars are Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Pluto.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include composer Chauncey Olcott ("When Irish Eyes Are Smiling") in 1860; author Ernest Hemingway and poet Hart Crane, both in 1899; Canadian communications theorist Marshall McLuhan in 1911; violinist Isaac Stern in 1920; singer Kay Starr in 1922 (age 82); producer Norman Jewison in 1926 (age 78); actor/comedians Don Knotts in 1924 (age 80) and Robin Williams in 1952 (age 52); former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno in 1938 (age 66); actor Edward Herrmann in 1943 (age 61); former singer Cat Stevens, who now goes by the name Yusef Islam, in 1948 (age 56); cartoonist Garry Trudeau in 1949 (age 55); and actor Jon Lovitz in 1957 (age 47).

On this date in history:

In 1861, the first major military engagement of the Civil War occurred at Bull Run Creek, Va.

In 1873, outlaw Jesse James held up the Rock Island express train at Adair, Iowa, and escaped with $3,000.

In 1925, the so-called "Monkey Trial" in Dayton, Tenn., which pitted Clarence Darrow against William Jennnings Bryan in one of the great confrontations in legal history, ended with John Thomas Scopes convicted of teaching evolution in violation of state law. He was fined $100.

In 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin climbed back into the lunar module, Eagle, and lifted off from the surface of the moon.

In 1970, after 11 years of construction, the massive billion-dollar Aswan High Dam across the Nile River in Egypt was completed, ending the cycle of flood and drought in the Nile River region but triggering an environmental controversy.

In 1991, Jordan joined Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia in agreeing to regional peace talks.

In 1992, a judge in Pontiac, Mich., dismissed murder charges against euthanasia advocate Jack "Dr. Death" Kevorkian.

Also in 1992, 43 people were injured when a tour bus carrying Girls Scouts and their chaperones overturned on a steep, winding highway in Nevada.

In 2000, a report from special counsel John Danforth cleared Attorney General Janet Reno and the government of wrongdoing in the April 19, 1993, fire that ended the Branch Davidian siege near Waco, Texas.

In 2002, WorldCom displaced Enron as the largest U.S. company to declare bankruptcy.

In 2003, physicians at Vienna General Hospital in Austria say they performed the world's first successful tongue transplant on a human, a 42-year-old man.

Also in 2003, Canadian authorities expanded their search for the remains of 63 Vancouver women missing for 20 years. Pig farmer Robert Pickton was charged with killing 13 of the women, most of whom were drug-addicted prostitutes.

A thought for the day: Balzac called bureaucracy "the gigantic power set in motion by fools."

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